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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Open Hearings

During the past three months, members of the Joint Standing Committee on Program Budget and Finance have been attending provincial synod meetings in order to present the Draft Budget of the Executive Council.  During our presentations we announced the process for conducting hearings at the General Convention.  We indicated that two of the three hearings would be conducted in a conversational form -- with individuals seated at round tables and engaging in conversation with members of the PB&F committee.  At a recent Provincial Synod meeting concerns were voiced questioning if this form would satisfy the definition of an Open Hearing. We have looked into this and decided that all three of the hearings will be conducted in the form of individual testimony. 

We appreciate the input that has caused us to decide on this change in our process.  We hope that all who plan to attend the hearings will come prepared with statements that are clear and concise. Because of time constraints, we anticipate limiting individual comments to two minutes.  I look forward to seeing you in Indianapolis.  Yours in Christ,

Diane Pollard, Chair


  1. In preparation for the 77th General Convention meeting this summer in Indianapolis, the budget preparation process for funding the mission and ministry of The Episcopal Church is underway. The Diocese of Western Massachusetts would like to give the following guidance as to its priorities for the next triennium.

    We are submitting the following to Kurt Barnes, Office of the Treasurer of TEC and directly to PB&F in their role as the General Convention’s budget committee.

    The amount asked from dioceses for the TEC Apportionment has been around 21% for over ten years until dropping to 20% in 2011 and 19% in 2012. The draft budget for 2013-15 continues with a 19% Apportionment.

    We believe that number to be unsustainable. More dioceses are offering less based on Missional priorities that demand a more equitable offering to TEC (which is in the midst of restructuring) and responding in an adaptive fashion to The Five Marks of Mission at the diocesan level.

    At its recent June 7, 2012 meeting, the Bishop & Diocesan Council of Western Massachusetts adopted a motion offering up to a 15% Apportionment for the next triennium (2013-15).

    We have noticed the TEC model for apportionment, priorities and Missional engagement is broken (see the Diocesan Commitments and Payments 2011 and 2012) – we cannot in good conscience adopt a 19% level of giving. We picked a level of offering that stretches us and keeps us connected; and funds new initiatives & directions in WMA.

    William H. Coyne, C-3 WMA
    GC deputy / 1988-91-94-97-2006-09-12

  2. I realize that the PB&F hearing on income matters is scheduled for the evening of July 6, but the deadline for submission of resolutions is 5:00 p.m. that day.

    Alan Shaver (Maine L2) had suggested on the House of Bishops / Deputies listserv that, given that widely disparate proposals for diocesan apportionments, a resolution be put forward at the beginning of General Convention to establish this percentage.

    Would such a procedure aid the work of PB&F, and would it be in order for a member of the Committee to propose this and ask Dispatch of Business to advance it?

    Or would this just be referred back to PB&F to await the July 10 presentation?

    Paul Ambos
    New Jersey L3

  3. The Green Team of St. Thomas Church, Sun Valley, Idaho enthusiasticaly supports the designation of 1 million dollars to enviromental ministry.

  4. I offer you a shapshot of the state of Mission Mark Five in Oklahoma.
    The Whole Creation Community, born about a year and a half ago, is
    the environmental ministry vehicle for the Diocese of Oklahoma and I
    am a an 80-year-old passionately involved in it, largely via the
    internet as I no longer drive. We designed ourselves in a
    "three-legged stool" format of Prayer, Education, and Action. To
    date our focus has been mostly the first two, utilizing a Facebook
    page (free) where there is a Daily Meditation posted as well as an
    array of educational material that a few of us find and post. (Take
    a look at our Facebook Page--we're proud of it!) We've done a few
    educational events at the Cathedral (other churches were not
    involved); we've largely replaced styrofoam coffee cups with real
    mugs, we recycle the Cathedral's waste paper, we're sponsoring an
    e-Waste Collection Day there this month and we hope to have an
    Adopt-A-Street spot in place soon--all things that require no cash
    outlay. A few other churches in the Diocese have been involved in
    things like a Community Garden and some scattered energy-saving and
    recycling efforts, but no concerted organized programs are going on.
    I think we've been very creative, but our hands are seriously tied by
    having no funds, nor are there any in view from the Diocese or the
    Cathedral both of which are running very lean. What little funding
    we have comes from a small commission on the sale of organic coffee
    to a handful of parishioners. Mounting meaningful action projects
    does take both people and money, and it is even hard to develop a
    cadre of people to work in the ministry when there is so little
    "hands-on happening" visible. I'm sure we're not alone in this, and
    having access to a bit of seed money from the National Church would
    really help us take off. At my age, my perspective on making things
    happen is decidedly one of "Don't Wait." I think Grandmother Earth
    is in about the same condition. Joyce Gibb, St. Paul's
    Cathedral, Oklahoma City

  5. I think the budget proposal responds to our obligation as Christians to care for the whole creation including each other. I especially like the idea of providing opportunities for young people in the mission field. Our young people are future leaders of the Church. Not only do we need to encourage their participation in mission activities at home and abroad, we also need to allow our youth to experience all the elements of creation. As we develop stronger mission-based congregations, we create a more cohesive sense of community.